Posted by: Michael Hennessy | December 3, 2005

RE: Max – Did Microsoft shoot themselves in the foot (again)?

I think your jumping the gun in making a final judgement about WInFX and its ability to deliver solid productivity enhancements. I think the real problem here is that its all clearly on the bleeding edge. Remember that WinFX is only in Beta1, and its scheduled to be released with Vista at the end of next year. In addition, they have not released WinFX Beta2, which will work with the RTM of .NET2.0, which will be a huge milestone. This is supposed to be released sometime this month, and I for one cant wait for it to come out. From my personal experience with Beta 2s, I treat them as live products and very rarely find big issues, and the ones I do find, I can easily create a work around for.

So, stay tuned to WinFX and give it a chance to get a little more baked. I have a strong feeling that once done, youll be blogging about the amazing stuff we will be able to develop with it!

One of the highlights of the announcements that came out of PDC this year was Microsoft Max. There was a genuine buzz around this new free application designed to show off some of the features of the forthcoming WinFX, and in particular the dramatic increases in programmer productivity Max was designed to show off. 

At the time of launch Max ran on Beta 2 of .Net 2.0 RTM.

One month on from the RTM of VS2005, with every other technology updated to support the RTM, Max finally announced yesterday that there was an update to the product

Read the announcement and there’s nothing advising you which releases are supported. Read the comments and it soon becomes clear that this “easy to produce in just a few weeks” application can still only run with the old CTP of WinFX and beta 2 of .Net 2.0. The update, two months on from the original release (which, we were told, took only two months to write) features the addition of a single new feature.

Given the excitement and genuine buzz around this demo – the only real demo of WinFX that’s available – one would have expected it to have been a much higher priority. The message they’re unintentionally giving out is that they are struggling to port their “easy to produce in just a few weeks” application to the RTM environment most of us are using.

Whichever way you look at it the original hype and buzz seems to have been wasted. This seems to happen time and time again with Microsoft, and is one of the biggest frustrations I have with the company, whether we’re talking the gotdotnet fiasco, the handling of the beta’s for Vista and Office 12, the “you’ll be able to download VS2005 RTM from MSDN Universal on this date – oops, when the date arrives we’ll say nothing until two weeks later when it’s finally ready”, ridiculously delayed deliveries of launch event software or prizes given at events, or a whole host of other examples I can point to. It seems like they are determined to shoot themselves in the foot and that there is never any real follow-through on anything once the initial marketing spend has been extravagantly dished out. Any goodwill earnt during the initial activity invariably turns into bad feelings all round and a feeling of having been let down. It’s hard to see how this is in any way good for Microsoft or those of us trying to promote its technologies.
To quote one of the comments on the Max blog: “If this project is supposed to demonstrate the ease of development of the FX technologies then it bad news- it took you guys 2 months to add 1 new feature?”

[Via Channel 9]


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